Impact of in-crop and soil residual herbicides on effective nitrogen fixation in field pea (Pisum sativum L.) and chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.)
A three-year project was initiated in 2004 to examine the effects of residual herbicides and registered “in-crop” herbicides, both soil and foliar applied, on N fixation and consequent yield of field peas and chickpeas. Inoculation strategies were examined to determine if inoculant formulation (i.e., peat powder versus granular inoculant) influences the degree to which herbicides can affect N fixation. This research is ongoing and thus all results are considered preliminary. Preliminary results in field pea, suggest that where herbicides had a negative effect on N fixation, the effects occurred at relatively early growth stages (i.e., soon after herbicide application) and were typically overcome at later growth stages. In addition, granular inoculants were associated with increased N fixation as compared to peat powder inoculants, and may have mitigated any negative herbicide effects. Chickpea incurred damage from the herbicides and all treatments had significantly less N fixation than the control. In general, results suggest that N fixation may be compromised if herbicides cause significant plant damage; however, improved weed control associated with herbicide application may counter the negative impact on early N fixation.
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